Why Solar Efficiency Is Important

You may be wondering what solar efficiency is and why high efficiency solar panels are better than low efficiency panels. Here are some solar power facts to help you understand how solar efficiency works and why it should be a key consideration for any solar investment.

What Is Solar Efficiency?

Solar efficiency refers to the amount of ambient light that can be converted into usable electricity. There are two ways to evaluate photovoltaic solar efficiency: You can look at solar cell efficiency or at solar panel efficiency. Solar cell efficiency is the amount of light that the individual solar cell converts to electricity. Solar cells are placed next to one another on top of a backsheet and are covered by glass to make up a solar panel.

Solar panel efficiency refers to the amount of light that the entire module converts to electricity. The efficiency of a solar panel is lower than that of a solar cell due to the spacing between cells and because the glass covering reflects away some of the sunlight. Consequently, you want to pay attention to solar panel efficiency because that will indicate how much electricity your solar energy system will actually generate.

Why Is Solar Panel Efficiency Important?

High efficiency solar panels help you to maximize your overall return on investment for today and the future. These solar panels will:
  • Generate more electricity with fewer panels
  • Require less rooftop space
  • Involve reduced installation time and fewer mounting materials
  • Offer more long-term savings

More Efficiency = More Savings

Solar power systems are often described in terms of the amount of power they can produce, which is measured in watts or kilowatts. However, a more important factor to take into account when comparing solar energy systems is the amount of actual electricity the system can generate during its lifetime, which is measured in kilowatt-hours.

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More Efficiency = More Savings

Solar power systems are often described in terms of the amount of power they can produce, which is measured in watts or kilowatts. However, a more important factor to take into account when comparing solar energy systems is the amount of actual electricity the system can generate during its lifetime, which is measured in kilowatt-hours.

High efficiency solar panels produce more kilowatt-hours of electricity over the lifetime of the solar system than standard efficiency panels. More electricity generated saves you more money on utility bills because you need less electricity from the local grid. If net metering is available, you could receive a payment from your utility for the excess electricity generated by your solar system.  In this situation, the more electricity you generate, the more money you make. It's that simple.
 

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Captalizing on Prime Solar Roof Space

Typically only certain areas of a rooftop are suited for solar power production. In the Northern Hemisphere, the optimal solar area is the southern facing side of the roof. So even if you have a lot of rooftop space, only a specific portion of your roof will be ideal for electrical generation.

Low efficiency solar panels waste valuable space, reducing the maximum output you can generate. With high efficiency solar panels, you can get the most electricity from your prime rooftop space.

High-efficiency solar panels reduce installation time

Reduced Installation Time and Costs

No one wants construction to go on any longer than necessary on their home or business. Since you only need a few high efficiency solar panels for the same electrical generation, there's less work for installers to mount the same kilowatt-size system. It can translate to potentially lower installation and mounting material costs as well as a shorter installation time. With less space needed, it is also easier to work around obstacles such as skylights or shady areas that would reduce your electrical production.

Solar Efficiency in the Long Term

Going solar should be viewed as a long-term investment. With no moving parts, solar systems are highly reliable, and they typically have 25-year lifetimes. If a solar system designed with high efficiency solar panels can save you a few hundred dollars more per year than a low efficiency solar system of the same square footage, it may not seem like a lot initially. However, this can build up to thousands of dollars saved over the life of your solar system.

The Advantages of High Efficiency Solar Panels

The solar power facts are undeniable. The higher the solar panel efficiency, the more energy you can generate. This translates into greater savings on your electricity bill over the long-term. That's how a smart solar investment works, and that's how you can get the savings you really want.

Learn about SunPower® highest efficiency solar panels.

Solar White Paper

  

High-Confidence Prediction of Energy Production from High-Efficiency Photovoltaic Systems

Understand the attributes that influence energy production from SunPower modules relative to other technologies.

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